Psychoanalyzed politics

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By ALEXANDRE HECKER*

The culture broth in which the monster feeds comes from the unconscious part of culture

Our contemporary political and moral outrage has already been experienced by many good people. We read in Elisabeth Roudinesco’s biography of Freud – Sigmund Freud, in his time and in our time – an excerpt in which she comments on, and literally quotes, an essay by Thomas Mann, Bruder Hitler [Brother Hitler], from 1939, in which the great writer compares Freud to the dictator, “a wise man and a monster”. The transcribed interpretation of what Thomas Mann presents about Hitler is suggestive of another more current and frightening comparison. He, in disbelief, conjectured about the tremendous inversion of values ​​in Germany that had led to the rise of that strange leader.

Bringing the subject here to us, it would be like not understanding how the Brazilian, known for being welcoming, a lover of carnival revelry, sensual proximity, an individual who strikes up a conversation in any bar with any stranger, which has already been defined by Sérgio Buarque as a “cordial man”, he became a repository of hostilities, attacking others in the street – a situation in which, on a street corner in the city of São Paulo, the author of these lines himself was a victim and, therefore, a self-witness. How did this little Brazilian transform himself into a furious iconoclast irresponsibly destroying the national historical heritage, murdering people with divergent opinions?!

Thomas Mann did not understand how German civilization, “which had reached the highest level in Europe, both in knowledge, in competence, in science, in philosophy” had adopted that man as its leader: Hitler was a loser, “a bum in a madhouse”, an “ugly duckling, mistaking himself for a swan, a charlatan”. The exact opposite of what Protestant ethics had modeled for decades, centuries. He was, again in the novelist's exact words, “a miserable, hysterical impostor... a knight of the industry of power, whose art is limited to provoking with a disgusting talent of a medium the sensitive chord of the people and making it vibrate in an obscene trance. […] this idiot who hates the social revolution, this hypocritical sadist, this honorless spiteful person.” One could use similar terminology for the disqualified person who held our country's top job. How did this degeneration occur?

Using psychoanalytic concepts from his great friend, Freud, Thomas Mann outlined an explanation for the tremendous tragedy: the broth of culture in which the monster was nourished came from the unconscious part of German culture, from its dark part, to which the Herr Professor called death drive.

According to master Roberto Da Matta, in What makes Brazil, Brazil?, it would be “need to carnivalize society as a whole a little more, introducing the values ​​of this relational festival into other spheres of our social life”. Only in this way would we scare off the Bolsonarist beast, resulting in national psychic tranquility.

*Alexander Hecker He is a retired professor of Contemporary History at Faculdades Sumaré. Author, among other books, of Sociable socialism: History of the democratic left in São Paulo (1945-1965) (Ed. Unesp). [https://amzn.to/3QRfs1J]


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